BOISE — Governor Little says the goal is to have the economy almost wholly reopen by June 26.
There are 4 stages to his rollout; the first goes into effect on May 1. All the dates for these stages are just estimates which Governor Little says will be re-evaluated every two weeks.
Stage 1 — which could go into effect May 1 — reopens retail. Public and private gatherings are still to be avoided — but and houses of faith can open if they practice strict social distancing.
"Given our limitations about what we know, given we don't have a treatment, we don't have a vaccine, we have to do this in stages," said Little, "and if we slip backward, those dates are all going to move out."
"That's why we're trying to give a concrete road map, but that concrete road map has criteria in it," Little said at Thursday's press conference.
The criteria, as stated on the official website, must be met to move stages. The criterion is a downward trend or low numbers of COVID-19-like illness patient visits as tracked by emergency departments within two weeks. It's also a downward trend or low levels of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported within that same period.
"This economy will not rebound if consumers do not have confidence," said Little.
Little also says he plans for schools to open back up by the fall.
"By fall, I don't see anything in our criteria that would prevent the schools from opening, in fact, that's our desire and wish, but that still means there's going to be different protocols in those schools," said Little.
Stage 2 opens restaurant dining rooms, indoor gyms, and hair salons. Gatherings of less than ten people would also be allowed. The intended dates for Stage 2 are May 16-29.
Stage 3 allows both public and private gatherings of 10-50 people, to occur with physical distancing. The intended dates for Stage 3 are May 30-June 12. Non-essential travel without the need for a 14-day quarantine following would also begin at this stage.
Stage 4 reopens visits to senior centers, bars, and large gatherings, all with appropriate social distancing. This stage also allows for employers to resume unrestricted staffing. The intended dates for Stage 4 are June 13-June 26.
If more outbreaks happen, there's the possibility of stepping back stages, as well.
"We are not going to return to normal until we get a vaccine," stated Little.
Governor Little stated he would announce later this week more information on expanding testing and new methods of it in the state.